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Updated Nov 26, 2012 - 6:40 am

Football season over but concussions still concern for schools

PHOENIX -- The regular season is over for high school football, but that doesn't mean Arizona schools can take their eye off of the ball when it comes to concussions.

Football is the most dangerous sport. For every 1,000 so-called "exposure to injuries," 12 players get hurt.

"Number two is girls' soccer, with six per 1,000 exposures to injury," said Dr. Javier Cardenas, a neurologist with Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. "That's followed by girls' basketball, then followed by their male counterparts."

Cardenas said players in those sports now must undergo the same concussion education requirements as football players. There are several ways that soccer, basketball and other players can get concussions.

"Typically, it happens if there's an elbow to the head, or if they strike their head when they fall on the court," Cardenas said. "For cheerleading, if they fall, fall onto another player if they're a flyer, fall and hit their head on the ground, it's still a major issue."

Cardenas said that parents should also know the signs of concussions. The most common signs are headaches, amnesia and confusion.

"My advice [to parents] is to make sure that you're educated about concussion and brain injury, that your athletes are educated about concussion and brain injury, and that your coaches and athletic trainers are educated and have the health of the student-athletes in mind before the sport," Cardenas said.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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